Join Date: Nov 2012
Drives: 2013 Rio5 EX Auto, Supercharged 2003 Chevy Avalanche
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Larger rims usually equate to larger moments of inertia which always results in larger amounts of rotational inertia to overcome for both accelerating and braking.
Think of a figure skater doing a spin, and how they can spin faster with their arms tucked in, and then when they extend their arms the spin slows down. The same amount of energy going into producing the spin results in a much faster spin for the lower moment of inertia case, which is when their mass, which doesn't change, is in closer to the point around which they are spinning.
In short, there's usually more energy spent to get the larger rims up to speed, and then more energy to get rid of to bring the larger rims to a stop. Since the tires themselves generally weigh little compared to the weight of the rim, they usually offer very little compensation to the effect of the rim diameter change.
You said "Will changing rims actually affect this much?"...
Yes it sure can and the suspension can be damaged from the "ride" which is NOT covered by the warranty.
We have two Spectras (one 2006 16" rims the other 2007 15" rims).
My 06 Spec came with 16" with low profie tires and my wife's 07 with 15" standard steel rims and conventional tires...
Her car is much quieter and handles bumps with less jarring.
My car has a much harsher ride but handles turns and curves better.
Going with larger rims and lower profile tires looks neat but you will pay with a
harder ride and more cabin noise and more tire damage from your roads.
I've also got a Graphite Rio, although it's the 5 door hatch, and was looking at wheels at Tire Rack's web site. Their web site puts up a graphic of your car, in the color of your choosing, and then you can see what any of the wheels they are selling will look like on your vehicle. After looking at over a dozen different wheels, I concluded that I preferred a silver or bare-metal wheel against the Graphite, but your taste may be different. On my yellow Avalanche, I painted its aftermarket wheels grey, so it isn't a case of just basically preferring non-painted wheels.
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